Agri Business

Farmers reject Centre’s best offer

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2021

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar addresses the media after meeting with farmers’ leaders, in New Delhi on Friday   -  Sandeep Saxena

Protesters stick to demand for repeal of farm laws; on January 26, at least one and a half lakh tractors will enter Delhi roads

T The eleventh round of negotiations between the protesting farmers and the Centre ended here on Friday after the farmers rejected the government’s best offer of keeping the three farm laws in abeyance for one-and-a-half months.

Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal, categorically informed the farmers that they cannot better their proposal to put the laws on hold and form a joint panel to discuss all outstanding issues, including statutory minimum support price (MSP).

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Tomar said the Centre gave many proposals to the farmers so that they end the protests, but no resolution was possible when the “sanctity of their agitation” is lost. He said the Centre is ready to consider alternative proposals from the farmers, but added that he considers the government’s proposal is the best solution available at this point.

He hoped that the farmers’ organisations will consider the proposal and end the agitation soon. Tomar apparently conveyed his displeasure to the farmers for issuing a statement on Thursday rejecting the Centre’s proposals.

‘Will escalate protest’

Meanwhile, the farmers have decided to step up their agitation. They said at least one and a half lakh tractors will enter the Delhi roads on the Republic Day to urge the Centre to repeal the three laws. Hannan Mollah, Senior Farmers’ leader and general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, said that the Centre took a completely negative approach on Friday. “The meeting happened just for about 20 minutes. But the ministers left in between asking us to consider their proposal once again. They kept us waiting for five hours. We have been maintaining that no proposal short of repealing the three laws is acceptable to us,” Mollah said.

The farmers also highlighted an alleged attack on the vehicle of Ruldu Singh Mansa, one of their representative. They said senior leader Darshan Pal also received threats on phone. Pal said the meeting was not successful. “We don’t know when will the next meeting take place. We appeal to people from across the country to participate in the protests. We are talking to Delhi police regarding the route of the parade on January 26. It will be finalised in one or two days. We appeal to people who live close to Delhi to participate,” he added.

The farmers’ organisations will meet again on Saturday. They said they will take a decision and will convey it before 12 pm on Saturday. “We are ready for meetings. But there will not be any change in our stand. The Centre should change its stand and should repeal the laws,” Mollah said.

Published on January 22, 2021

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